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Keeping Safe in the Sun

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Summer is here and isn’t it fabulous!

Gone are the chilly, dark dreary mornings of winter. Watching the sun slip up past the hills that border Perth, over the trees and stream through the windows of our living area has become one of lives little moments of bliss each morning.

The kids are eager to get outdoors from the get go. Miss 4 loves setting up obstacles courses much like they did at kindy over the year. Instead, Miss 21m loves to bounce on the trampoline and search for insects.

I usually sit outside with my favourite mug full of coffee and watch them just have fun ( and act as a volume control for our neighbours). We have breakfast in the warmth of the suns reach and tend to the garden. There have been many walks down to our local parks. Just like the old, we love to jump into the car to explore one that is brand new. We also love to visit national parks and going down to the beach.

Being amongst nature in the outdoors is something we really enjoy!

However… the sun or more so UV rays are always on my mind as the morning progresses.

Jungle Park

What is UV?

The sun emits radiation. Ultra Violet (UV) rays are a form of radiation that is emitted by the sun. UV rays are the main cause of sun cancer, sunburn, premature ageing and eye damage. This radiation can literally alter your skins DNA resulting in irreversible damage to your cells.

UV can not be seen, it can not be felt. Even on a cloudy day, UV penetrates through the clouds. Depending on the type of cloud, potential UV exposure may either be reduced or amplified. Cloud coverage cannot be assumed to be safer when determining exposure to UV rays.

Surfaces such as pavement, water, sand or grass may reflect UV rays increasing exposure. Did you know even wearing a hat in the pool, your child could still be exposed to UV damage. The rays can be reflected from the waters surface.

When is UV exposure safe?

UV is measured on an index scale from 0 to 11+. The higher the number the greater risk of UV exposure and sun damage.

  • From 0-3, low exposure – no sun protection is not required.
  • 4-6, medium exposure – wear sunscreen and protective clothing
  • 6+, extreme exposure – shade play

Since UV cannot be seen or felt, you cannot simply rely on your senses to determine whether your exposure is at a safe level or not.

Generally speaking, in summer here in Perth, Western Australia you need not worry before 7:30am or after 4:30pm. The UV levels are typically low enough at these times to not be concerned about sun damage due to over exposure to UV rays.

Bells Rapids

How do we know when UV is at a dangerous level?

UV cannot be felt or seen. There is no way of knowing what the UV levels are by using your senses.

Unless you have a UV meter, a couple of reliable places to refer to for the UV levels are the Bureau of Meterology and Sun Smart App.

Sun Smart App

What are some signs of damage due to UV exposure?

Tan

A tan is perceived by many as a sign of health however it is in fact, your skins way of trying to protect itself from further damage from exposure to UV. There is no such thing as a healthy tan, unless it has been applied from a bottle!

Sunburn

Redness, painful to touch, peeling skin and even blisters go hand in hand with a sunburn. Even though a sunburn may only last for a few days, the after effects last much longer and will build up over time including premature wrinkling and increased risk of skin cancers.

Freckles

Freckles are a sign of previous UV exposure. They are a flat, small brown patch of pigmentation that develop in response to UV exposure and then in turn will mostly fade without it. They are typically harmless however any changes in an existing freckle should be noted and discussed with your GP.

How to stay safe in the sun

The best way to play safely in the sun is to be aware of the UV levels and adjust your play to suit.

Wear sun protection such as hats, suncream with 30-50 SPF applied 20 minutes before exposure and reapplied every 2 hours and protective clothing when UV is between 4-6.

Seek shade when UV is 6 or higher.

A little bit of sun won’t hurt

Well…. this is true and then science says it can.

Yes, we do need a bit of sun to produce the all important vitamin D however the amount of exposure required to synthesise what we need is minimal and this can be done safely.

Getting outdoors has long been known for the positive impact on our body and mind.

I choose to keep our play in the sun between the times when UV exposure is safe or manageable with sun protection. 

There is plenty of fun to have in the shade and I hope my children will take  these healthy habits and awareness well into their adulthood too. 

Dani D x

Disclosure: This Blog does contain affiliate links which I may earn a small commission from if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

Help your child build an understanding of the weather and how it can influence their play with their own Letter Basics Weather Report!

Letter Basics Weather Report
Keeping your kids safe in the sun

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26 Comments

  1. Blanca says:

    I don’t have kids of my own, but I do have nieces and a goddaughter and I pester their parents about sunscreen. I’m in my 40’s and I have no wrinkles. The few sunspots I have – were “earned” in my youth – I was never thought to wear sun protection, but when I did learn, I made it a daily habit. That and huge hats!

    1. It certainly is a lot easier to encourage healthy habits in younger children than as we get older. Good for you taking charge of your choices and putting safety first!

  2. Very informative I never knew about the different UV levels and tanning being so unhealthy!

    1. As a teen and in my 20s, I always associated summer with getting a tan. I had in my head that it looks great however knowing what i know now, I would love to go back and choose health over fashion.

  3. I am from Malaysia where we don’t have the 4 seasons but it’s either rain or beautiful sunny days the whole year through. Usually the sun is burning hot so wearing sunblock cream is very important.

    1. We were lucky enough to visit Malaysia in 2012. It’s such a beautiful place and one of the things I do remember is the heat. It’s so different to here in Australia!

  4. Great help for us to keep our skin protected. We live in a tropical country so this is vital.

    1. Protecting your skin is certainly a great investment in your health!!! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This stresses me out because I’ve done such a poor job to protect myself in the last several years. I’ve gotten third degree sunburn a few times and always new freckles, all because I forget about sunscreen for me after I’ve covered the kids. It’s SO dangerous!

    1. Me too- the kids are always slathered up and in the rush to get out the door I often forget myself 🙊 In my youth I always leaned more towards getting the tan that society has deemed so ‘attractive’. It’s not until becoming a parent that I have really looked at how I have treated myself and the effects of all those sunburns and tanning over the years. No time like the present to take charge and make the changes 😉

  6. Terri Ramsey Beavers says:

    Those weather activities reports are a great idea for kids to get an understanding of weather. We are in the middle of the hottest winter ever and I need to remember that sunscreen is really important now too.

    1. Thank you! My little Miss takes her weather reporting very seriously. It’s great for building their vocabulary too! Where abouts are you? We are in the thick of our summer atm- luckily for us it has been pretty kind so far!

  7. I always make sure that I apply sunscreen when I go out and use D-Tan to get rid of the tan every week

    1. I hadn’t heard of D-Tan before… what is it please?

  8. This is really informative as you have very well described the kinds of uvs. Though I don’t have kids but this is great knowing.

    1. The same info can be transferred to us adults too! Probably even more so as we have had more exposure over our life’s time. Thanks for dropping by and your kind words!

  9. it looks so much fun! Day at the beach is always a priceless experience filled with joy!

    1. Yes for sure! You could go each day and the experience would never be the same twice!

  10. alison netzer says:

    Such an important topic these days. I always make my kids slather up with sunscreen even though they complain. gone are the days of baby oil! thank you for sharing this important information.

    1. You’re welcome! Haha yes, oh weren’t they the days of oiling up before heading out 😉 One day your kids will look back and thank you for slathering them up even though they were against it. Safety first!

  11. We are very careful about sun protection. Both of my kids are fair and we do a lot of things like wearing hats, rash guards, and so on. I like finding alternatives to sunscreen, since many have chemicals or bother my daughter’s skin, and UV blocking fabric is great.

    1. I love the idea of alternatives that will still keep our littles safe. My girls have sensitive skin and I am mindful of what I put on them. Have you found anything that could be used on your daughters face that has been effective?

  12. […] your skin cells perform at their very best. Skin cells are mostly made up of water, so without it, it stands less of a chance of protecting itself. Drinking water is incredibly important, especially when it comes to the hotter climate. We can […]

  13. Bindu Thomas says:

    Very informative post. Now I am aware of UV rays and its different levels. Thank you for sharing this post.

    1. Thank you and you are most welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

  14. […] Here are tips to help keep your Family Safe in the Sun! […]

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